Woman jailed for forging cheating husband’s signature to acquire HK$3.8 million loan
District Court judge sympathised with the 62-year-old’s unhappy marriage
A retired Social Welfare Department officer who forged her cheating husband’s signature to claim a HK$3.8 million loan was jailed for 33 months on Friday.
The case emerged when the defendant Cheung Hau-yee’s husband reported her to the Independent Commission Against Corruption in June last year.
While Cheung, who pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, admitted to violating her husband’s trust, her counsel argued that she was not the only one.
“[Her husband] had integrity problems too,” he told District Court. “He cheated the defendant’s love and youth.”
The couple is currently undergoing divorce proceedings.
The court previously heard that Cheung, 62, sought financial assistance from Citi Gold Finance Advisory in February last year, but was told her application for a property loan would be rejected because she owned only half of the family flat in Chai Wan.
Staff said she needed a copy of her husband’s identity card and documents signed by him to pledge full ownership of the unit. They also advised her to forge her husband’s signatures in three documents filed as part of her application to a licensed money lender.
Believing the documents were genuine, Lei Shing Hong Credit granted a property loan of HK$3.8 million in March last year. Minus legal fees, government charges, consultant fees and the outstanding mortgage on the Chai Wan flat, Cheung pocketed HK$610,649.
The defendant’s lawyer told the court that she had purchased the Chai Wan flat in 1986, shortly after marrying her husband. While her husband had once helped clear the flat’s mortgage, it was soon remortgaged for HK$1.5 million, which the husband allegedly pocketed in full.
In 2010, she discovered her husband was having an affair.
Her lawyer said she felt ashamed and angry to find him buying expensive gifts for his lover while ignoring her requests for a divorce. To numb her feelings, Cheung resorted to shopping, which left her with an enormous debt.
Deputy district judge Ko Wai-hung said he sympathised with Cheung’s unhappy marriage and acknowledged she might have been influenced by others when she forged the signatures.
But he pointed out that it was her who provided the identity documents and forged the signatures knowing full well that she owned only half the flat.
“In truth, the defendant also had vested interests,” he said.